House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Holds Weekly News Conference CSPAN February 13, 2020 6:27pm-6:48pm EST
coverage as massachusetts senator elizabeth warren holds a town hall nevpbt arlington, virginia, that starts at 7:00 eastern. coming up saturday, nevada's clark county democratic party will kick off a caucus gala in las vegas that includes speeches 2020 presidential candidate and you can see both events live on c-span.org or listen with the free c-span radio app. >> house speaker nancy pelosi held her weekly news conference with reporter on capitol hill and talked about the president's 2021 budget pr posal, the equal rights amendment, the 2020 presidential campaign, and the justice department's decision to reduce its recommended sentence for president trump's former associate, longer stone.
ms. pelosi: good morning. this is a very special morning for us because i may be called away in a few minutes, longer than just momentarily, to vote on the floor of the house for the ratification -- extending the date for the ratification of the equal rights amendment. it's an historic day, it's a happy day. i commend our chairman, jerry nadler, chairman of the judiciary committee, for bringing the legislation to the floor. jackie speier, the author of the resolution, who has been a relentless champion for women's rights in the congress and in the country. carolyn maloney who has, for a very long time, been advocating for the passage of equal rights amendment and now extending the date enables us to do that. we're very proud of the state of virginia who just came through on for women, for families, that
in the chair -- the congresswoman wexton from virginia is presiding. as she fought for it in the virginia legislature, didn't happen until they got the majority and then she's here now to preside over it. it's pretty exciting. it's pretty exciting when you think of what it means. i can't understand how people can vote against their own interest as a woman, but their wives, their daughters, their sisters, their mothers are not able and they should be equal under the law. whether it relates to wage discrimination, whether it relates to sexual harassment, iscrimination. as a mother of five, four of whom are daughters, i'm very excited about what this means for families. and what it means for women to be better represented if all the seats of decision and power in our country.
so, again, there's no reason for this -- some people are putting forth excuses, but we expect to have a bipartisan vote in the senate. i hope we will have a bipartisan vote in the house. hopefully it will be brought up in the senate. again, our theory has been, when women succeed, america succeeds. that's what we believe and that's what we're acting upon today. again, this week was marked by the introduction of the president's budget. you've heard me say again and again, a budget should be a statement of our national values. a federal budget should be a reflection of what is important to us as a nation. this budget is not without -- is without any commitment to values. in fact, it is a complete reversal of the promises the president made in the campaign and a contradiction of what he said in the state of the union address.
as you know, he talked about being there for medicare and social security, well, he cut medicare by half a trillion dollars in his budget. cut tens of billions of dollars from disability benefits, from social security. and the issue of medicaid, cut $900 billion, almost $1 trillion in medicaid. about 60% of whole income health care is paid for by medicaid. this is a middle class benefit. yes, some medicaid goes to the poor, poor children specially. but most -- a majority of the funds paying for long-term care for america's seniors and others comes from medicaid. $900 billion. just to name something. it's an appalling budget. imagine, imagine when the whole world is fighting the coronavirus, the president cuts
out $1.2 billion from the centers for disease control, whose job it is to fight the coronavirus and others like t. and farmers, the president talks about farmers. farmers have record numbers of bankruptcy now and in the budget the president slashes the farmers' safety net by $60 billion. while stealing $200 billion from snap. snap is directly related to our farmers. i go into the midwest, i meet farmers who tell me they are on food stamps because of their economic situation. but senator dole and senator mcgovern established the snap program to help address food insecurity. but also to benefit farmers who provide that food. there are cuts to -- we talk about rebuilding america and the president in his budget cut 13% of the department of
transportation and also has massive cuts in the army corps of engineers, which is very essential to infrastructure uilding. and then for clean air and clean water, it cuts 25% from the e.p.a. this budget is disgraceful in many ways. just as simply as the air our children breathe, the water they drink. just slash it. not important to us. and all the while, reinforcing what he's going to do on taxes. to continue his tax scam, adding more money, more debt, more national debt for our children to pay so we can give tax cuts to the high end, so we can say, see, see the market's up, well, you slashed taxes and do one thing and another. now, we want our economy fixing and we're happy when the
indicators are positive, but let's not build that on the backs of our children and their future. dozens of groups, aarp, to young invisibles have come out against the bill and the aarp, representing 17 million seniors, wrote that. we are deeply concerned about the proposed funding reductions to medicare, medicaid, social security, nutrition assistance, caregiver support, housing assistance and other assistance for early -- for older americans. aarp calls on congress to protect these critical programs that millions of americans rely on for their health and financial security. that's their statement. i'll add to that, many of these people are veterans. over a million veterans benefit from medicaid. and snap. the snap program. food insecurity. sadly is prevalent in our veteran community.
we also saw the president this week demonstrate once again that he has no respect for the rule of law. his assault on the rule of law by engaging in political interference in the sentencing of his associate, roger stone, indicated obstruction investigation into trump-russia ties and witness tampering. that's what stone was indicted for. this is an abuse of power that the president is again trying to manipulate federal law enforcement to serve his political interest. and the president is what he s. he thinks he's above the law. he has no respect for the rule. but where are the republicans to speak out on this blatant violation of the rule of law? a.g. barr has deeply damaged the rule of law by withdrawing the d.o.j. sentencing recommendation, the act of interference in trump's retribution against lead ttorney in the stone case.
imagine the four of the prosecutors separated themselves from the case when the president did that. just days after firing lieutenant colonel vindman for speaking truth to power. this still must be investigated. the american people must have confidence in our nation's system of impartial justice. with withdrawal of the four prosecutors, the case, what an act of courage on their part, it must be commended. but the actions of the justice department -- the justice department has this -- should have this -- so apolitical, so above the political fray that people have confidence in the rule of law in our country. the attorney general has stooped to such levels, he's lied to congress, for which he will be in contempt. he has engaged in these ctivities. what a sad disappointment to our country.
the american people deserve better. we are leaving now for a district work period. we're listening to the concerns of our constituents. with their help we formulated or for-the-people agenda. what is important to them, their kitchen table concerns. lower the cost of health care by lowering the cost of rescription drugs. retaining, protecting the pre-existing condition benefit. the president said he's all for it. he's a defender. and yet he's in court to overturn it. building the infrastructure, lower health care costs, bigger paychecks by building infrastructure of america. hopefully we can find common ground on both of those scores with the white house. lower health care costs, bigger paychecks, cleaner government. i don't think we'll find too much common ground on that score. anyway, this is a day to celebrate. a day that the equal rights amendment extension is passed on
he floor of the house. we're very eager to send it over to the senate where i understand it has bipartisan support. let's only hope that the grim reaper will allow the voice of american women and those who support american women to be heard on the senate floor. questions? reporter: you just said that the president abused his power again. ms. pelosi: yeah, i did. reporter: by injecting himself into -- [indiscernible] -- roger stone. what recourse does the congress have -- [indiscernible] -- that the president is untouchable at this point? is it just up to the voters this fall, or can the congress do omething about it? ms. pelosi: it should be investigated. the leader in the senate has called for the inspect jor -- inspector general to look into this. our committee, the judiciary committee, as you know, has invited and he has accepted, the attorney general come before the judiciary committee and that will be the end of march.
i wish it were sooner but he did accept the invitation so we don't have to go another step there. but this cannot -- this is not what america is about. it is so wrong. and, again, i keep public sentiment is making a judgment about this, but i would hope that republicans who respect the rule of law, and i assume most of them do, except for the aberration in the white house and his henchmen, that they would speak out on this too. because it cannot stand. reporter: couple days ago you told me that -- [indiscernible] -- presidential race is positive. i'm going to ask you a follow-up. why? can you expand on that? ms. pelosi: i think every candidate in the race has had a positive influence on the race. they bring their ideas, they bring their why. why they're running. what they know about as their priority issues. their strategic thinking about how they want to accomplish those goals and get people --
give people confidence that they can, in as much a bipartisan way as possible. and how they connect with the american people. each of them in their own way. so i would -- i could list you 25, but i won't. because the field has been whittling. but every name who has put his name forward has been a positive force in the campaign. reporter: do you think he has the best chance of beating the president? ms. pelosi: i'm not talking politics here. thank you for the opportunity. i hear you all say, the panic, the established democrats -- is there some establishment that i don't know about around here? who are we talking about here? because we respect the process. the people will winnow the field. members will make their endorsement as they see fit on their own, with their constituents and with the candidates as they choose. so we're calm, cool and collected.
this is not -- i mean, just because some people may be speaking out about not liking one candidate or another, that's the democratic way. that's politics. it's a messy business. i remind you of how it was when the republicans had their primary in the last election, four years ago. how messy that was. but this is -- we're calm, we're cool, we're collected. we have faith in the american people. we'll be guided by their judgment as we go forward. but maybe it sells papers or gets viewer, but it isn't the fact -- gets viewers, but it isn't fact. reporter: you said the attorney general lied to congress. ms. pelosi: he did. reporter: why should the house not move forward on impeachment proceedings against the attorney general? ms. pelosi: we -- our priority was to protect and defend the constitution of the united states.
the president gave us no choice in his actions in violating the separation of power that is contained in the constitution. and that is our goal. so, again, there's so much malfeasance on the part of people in the executive branch right now. but the fact is, our responsibility is to honor our oath of office to protect and defend. but we can point out the disrespect that the attorney general has for the rule of law, for lying to congress, and that s really very bad. it's not a good thing. lying to the american people. it is lying to the american people. under oath. but our priorities are to do our job for the american people, to lower health care costs by lowering the cost of prescription drugs. we passed that bill. we hope that we worked with the administration to put it together, we hope they don't abandon it as they seem to have,
i guess at the behest of pharma. we said that we wanted to build the infrastructure of america and increase paychecks, the president said throughout the campaign that he was going to build infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure. came to prescription drugs, he's going to negotiate like crazy. it appears that crazy might mean ot at all. again, cleaner government, which we want to do with lowering the impact of big dark money in politics, ending, under john lewis' bill, which is part of h.r. 1, to end the voter suppression and, again, pass the voting rights act. which is part of that. but we've taken out of that. so that's what we're doing and our responsibility is to protect and defend. that's what we did. i'm very proud of our managers. they presented the facts. i'm proud of the courage of our members. they reviewed the facts. they studied the constitution. they made their own decision.
i'm proud of the senate that they had the unanimous vote in favor of the truth. and just so respectful of the decision that senator romney made. but that doesn't mean that we're going to spend all of our time going after every lie that the administration henchmen make to the congress of the united states. reporter: the senate today is going to vote on this -- [indiscernible] -- powers measure much a measure that is a little different in the house. from your perspective, why does this not hem the president in? that's the argument that some make. say he needs to have that agility. there's questions about these old aumf's. but they say it undercuts what we're trying to do in the middle east and iran and -- [indiscernible] -- ms. pelosi: the power to declare war is in the constitution. a power of the congress of the united states. the president has considerable power as well. the war powers act addresses a
calibration of the balance between the two. this is a very long discussion and something i've been involved n for almost 20 years. first as ranking on intelligence and now in my position here. i think they're going to have a bipartisan vote in the senate. i know that. i think that the legislation is good. it's a little different from ours. but we will take it up when we return in the next work eriod. reporter: fundamentally this is the shoving match between the congress and the administration, with war powers -- [indiscernible] -- why does this not tie the president's hands -- ms. pelosi: there are plenty of waivers for the president in terms of our national security. i mean, -- we can have a full discussion on this. the war powers act is something that we respect and we would hope that the president of the united states would respect it too. in times of our attack, any and
all powers are vested in the president of the united states. if you read the war powers act. it triggers -- i don't like that word -- any and all powers on the part of the commander in chief. what we're saying is, in terms of other decisions that the president makes, that congress has a role to play in that according to the constitution of the united states. i'm glad it will have bipartisan support for recognizing congress' role in all of this, and, again, our first responsibility is to protect and defend. we're going to do that but we want to do it in a way that does not eliminate the power of declaring war from the congress of the united states. i'm sorry but i'm going to have to go to the floor. rarely do i vote unless to break a tie. we haven't had any. but nonetheless that would be what i would do. but today, for my children, my daughters, my granddaughters --